Tracy out as Dodgers manager
LOS ANGELES - Jim Tracy became the latest to be shown the door in Paul DePodesta's restructuring of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Tracy's tenure as manager ended Monday, one day after he finished his first losing season in five years with the team. He and general manager DePodesta cited "philosophical differences" as the reason for the mutual decision to call it quits.
The 49-year-old Tracy, in the second year of a two-year agreement, was denied the contract extension he sought, and said he didn't want to be in the Dodgers' dugout next year as a lame duck manager.
"No, I was not fired," Tracy said in a conference call.
He did not opt out of the final year of his contract, meaning the Dodgers will pay him for next season if he doesn't take another managing job.
"At the end of the day, I think everybody needs to be on the same page to move forward," DePodesta said in his portion of the call. "We decided we needed to make a change and Jim decided to move on as well."
DePodesta has made a lot of changes since new Dodgers owner Frank McCourt hired him in February 2004.
Among his moves, DePodesta cut ties with several key players from the 2004 division championship team, including Adrian Beltre, Alex Cora, Shawn Green, Steve Finley and Jose Lima. He also dealt Paul Lo Duca and Dave Roberts midway through the 2004 season.
One acquisition last winter, Jeff Kent, had a fine 2005 season, but other newcomers such as J.D. Drew, Jose Valentin and Derek Lowe didn't contribute much.
Last year, Tracy guided Los Angeles to its first division championship since 1995, but the Dodgers finished 71-91 this season. It was the franchise's second-worst record since moving from Brooklyn in 1958.
Tracy pointed to a difference of opinion with the organization regarding the evaluation of players as a major reason why he won't be back. How things turn out on the field for the team will show whether the philosophy is going to work out, Tracy said.
DePodesta said that, because of the differences with Tracy, even if the Dodgers had won 95 games this year, "We'd still be having this discussion (on the conference call) sometime this month."
Tracy had a 427-383 record in five seasons. The Dodgers began this season 12-2, but then losses and injuries started to add up.
"The tough part for me is the fact that the love I had in managing this club, and I know I've been managing for the past five years one of the more storied franchises in baseball," Tracy said.
"I can sit here and know wholeheartedly that I've given it everything I could possibly give. I've put my heart and soul into this."
He said he had not even begun to consider other possible managing positions.
DePodesta said the Dodgers have a list of candidates for their job, and plan to begin interviews next week.
Asked if his decision regarding Tracy was due to his wish to have his own choice of mangers, DePodesta said, "I certainly think that's part of it."
Last year's NL West championship was the Dodgers' first in nine years, and they earned their first postseason victory since winning the 1988 World Series. Los Angeles was eliminated by NL champion St. Louis 3-1 in the first round of the playoffs.
Tracy's tenure tied him for the fourth-longest among current NL managers, behind Atlanta's Bobby Cox, St. Louis' Tony La Russa, and San Diego's Bruce Bochy - whose teams all made this season's playoffs.
The Dodgers were Tracy's first big league managing job. Before being hired in 2000, he spent seven years managing in the minors for the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati and Montreal. He also played two seasons in the majors with the Cubs.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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